JFA were commissioned in 2003 by Tate Britain to complete the exhibition design for ‘Constable to Delacroix: British Art and the French Romantics’, the first exhibition to explore the relationship between France and Britain during the period of High Romanticism.
The exhibition featured over 180 paintings on loan from public and private collections around the world. Lighting, colour, room size and the height of the artwork were all key factors in staging the exhibition.
The works were hung low on walls painted in different tones of grey, purple and dark green. In dramatic style general light levels were also kept low, with the artworks theatrically lit.
The central piece of the exhibition, a full-scale copy of Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa, was displayed in a new smaller gallery constructed within the main gallery itself. A gentle ramping floor towards the painting, tapering walls and a slopping roof, lent an atmosphere of tension and confrontation between the viewer and the subject.
While the display of the Raft recreates for visitors the experience of a visit to a small, private exhibition involving one major work, there is also a recreation of a large public exhibition of the 1820s.
This 'grand gallery' of exhibition pictures comprises works that were shown at the Salon in Paris and the Royal Academy and British Institution in London, as well as influential examples of contemporary painting that were accessible to artists in distinguished private picture galleries like those of the Marquess of Stafford in England and the Duc d'Orléans in France.